Good afternoon anglers! Today we have a guest post from our very own Pro, Alex Burton. Thank you Alex for writing up this great educational piece!
Does Putting Scents on Lures Really Matter?
By: Alex Burton
When it comes to using scents on lures fisherman are split down the middle. Some will not throw a lure without it, while others think it is just a gimmick. So do scents really help you put more fish in the boat?
Let’s start with how a fish “smells”. Fish have nostrils on each side of their snouts. Unlike us they don’t start sniffing around when they detect something in the water. As they move water flows into one nostril and out the other. Special nerves between the nostrils then pick up on various molecules in the water that the fish’s brain then interpret as scent.A fish’s sense of smell is roughly 1000 times greater than a dog. They use this incredible ability to associate certain smells to things in their environment. Be it specific plant life, other fish in their school, or food. They can also learn to associate certain smells to a positive or negative depending on how their experience with that particular scent was.
Obviously some fish rely more upon their sense of smell to catch prey, like catfish for instance. So what about more predatory fish like bass who rely more on sight and sound to find their food? The answer is yes, scent is essentially the icing on the cake for them.
When a bass is on the hunt they slowly patrol their territory. They watch for flashes in the water, feeling for vibrations of struggling or unsuspecting prey near them. After locking in on the location of potential prey they start circling in to check it out. As they move closer scent fills their nostrils signaling that this is indeed their next meal as they go in for the strike.
Based on what we know from above adding scent to your lures gives them that realism, bigger bass especially, need to commit to the strike. How often have you watched a bass follow closely behind your lure, but never actually touch it? That is why, they never got that final assurance they needed to go for it.
As I said earlier fish can also begin to associate some scents negatively, causing them to turn away from that particular source. This is especially true on higher pressured bodies of water where bass are already weary from constant pursuit. Subtle scents like nicotine from smoking or even sunblock will cause fish to shut down in an area.
This is why some of the biggest lure manufactures in the world started scenting their soft plastics. Yum, Berkley, and others all have their own secret blend designed to help bass truly commit or at least hide any negative scents we accidentally put on our lures.
Unfortunately when it comes to hard plastics like crankbaits we have to add our own scents. While oil based gels, sprays, and sticks work, they are quickly washed off after a few casts. Constantly applying them is not only frustrating, but can get costly as well. Thankfully advancements are being made like the Fish Allure scented decals that don’t wash off, and last for an hour of continuous use.
To answer our original question, scents do make a difference. They aren’t a magic multiplier, but they will help you add more realism to your presentations. They have also been proven to make fish hit lures harder and hold on that little extra for a better hook set.
If you still question it pick up some Fish Allure tabs or other scent product to test it for yourself. I promise just the confidence boost alone they give you is worth it, whether you’re a weekend warrior or veteran tournament angler.